This long-established surname, now widespread in Yorkshire, is a variant of the more familiar Rhodes, itself of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a topographical name from residence by a clearing in a forest, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "rod, royd", clearing, cognate with the Old High German "rod", Old Norse "ruth". Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Early examples of the surname include: Hugh de Rodes, witness, noted in the 1219 Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire, and Robert del Rodes, recorded in the 1332 Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire. Some instances of the surname may be specifically locational from the old estate of Royds Hall, near Huddersfield in Yorkshire. On November 12th 1544, the christening of Johanna Roydes took place at Kirkburton, and on February 16th 1573, Robert Royds was christened at Royston, Yorkshire. In the modern idiom the name is spelt: Rhodes, Rhoades, Roads and Royds. A Coat of Arms granted to the Royds family is an ermine shield, on a cross engrailed between four red lions rampant, a spear in pale proper between four bezants, the Crest being a leopard sejant proper bezantee, resting his forepaw on a pheon. The Motto, "Semper paratus", translates as "Always prepared". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Roides, which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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